COVID-19 will change how we buy food, forever

Convenience now has a different meaning. It’s less about saving time and more about survival and safety

COVID-19 will change how we buy food, foreverCOVID-19 will redefine grocery shopping and food service. Convenience now has a different meaning. It’s less about saving time and more about survival and safety. Before the crisis, barely anyone ordered online and many Canadians wondered why someone would ever order food in that fashion. But many things are changing – rapidly. The in-store shopping…

Brexit could boost Canada’s ag industry by billions

The EU’s tough quality assurance rules mean CETA hasn’t delivered for Canadian farmers. Brexit could be the answer

Brexit could boost Canada’s ag industry by billionsBritain has officially left the European Union and faces the challenge of negotiating a new trading relationship with the bloc before the end of the transition period on Dec. 31, 2020. As a net importer of most food products, the United Kingdom faces a choice of making concessions to the European Union to maintain access…

Canada’s dairy sector faces uncertain future

The dairy industry is slowly being trampled by a wave of consumers who see it as one of many options, for a variety of reasons

Canada’s dairy sector faces uncertain futureThere’s been a lot of talk recently about meat alternatives but dairy alternatives are also becoming more popular. And when it comes to dairy in Canada, given our quotas and high tariffs, the stakes are significantly higher. Dairy alternatives can be seen everywhere from grocery stores to coffee shops. These products are no longer confined…

Consumer trust in agriculture is waning

Organized, well-funded groups condemning farming practices on social media are winning the consumer trust battle

Consumer trust in agriculture is waningThe public uses social media every day to express concerns about farming practices. And it’s getting worse. Farmers are criticized for a variety of reasons – for example their environmental stewardship and their ethical behaviour in how they treat livestock. In survey after survey, Canadians generally say they trust farmers, regardless of headlines, social media…

Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiasco

Gene-edited crops can help produce safe and affordable food and energy. But proponents need to make a legitimate case to consumers

Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiascoWill Canadian consumers want to eat gene-edited food? There's a lot of excitement in agriculture about the introduction of gene-edited food products into the Canadian food system over the next few years. But there’s also a great deal of apprehension. Gene editing is about tweaking a plant’s genome by turning off certain genetic traits. By…

Feds’ Buy Canadian food campaign could be a disaster

The feds want to spend $25 million to get you to buy Canadian. This is a great idea that could easily turn into a marketing disaster

Feds’ Buy Canadian food campaign could be a disasterAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada is going into marketing. It wants you to buy Canadian. The federal government intends to spend $25 million over five years starting this summer to promote Canadian food products and instill pride in what our country can bring to our tables. This is a great idea. But promoting Canadian products may…

Plant health a decidedly human issue

Climate change knows no borders and neither should science. And when it comes to plant science, Canada is a force to be reckoned with

Plant health a decidedly human issueEvery year, the United Nations promotes something that it believes warrants attention and it has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health. Celebrating plant health and bringing more awareness to the issue is well worth pursuing. Plants represent about 80 per cent of everything we eat. And animals raised on farms, of course, eat…

The art – and science – of rescuing food

Half of Canadians intend to reduce food waste as much as possible in 2020. The industry is offering solutions, as are other organizations

The art – and science – of rescuing foodCanada generates more food waste per capita than any other country in the world. Every year, close to 60 per cent of food produced in Canada is wasted. That’s more than 35 million metric tonnes of food is lost and wasted annually in Canada. Considering the energy and resources required to produce this food, the…

Keep calm and eat your fries

Potatoes are 20% more expensive in grocery stores than they were last year, and they could get even more expensive in 2020. Our craving for this food staple is likely to blame

Keep calm and eat your friesMost of us love fries and chips. Other than ketogenic, most diets don’t discriminate against the mighty potato. It’s even in the new Canada’s Food Guide. Most dishes using potatoes are loved by Canadians, especially in winter, when colder weather encourages us to seek heartier meals. But North America is experiencing potato shortages and processors…

CN strike exposes Canadian infrastructure flaws

Most of Canada’s transportation system, from Halifax to Vancouver, has been undercapitalized for years

CN strike exposes Canadian infrastructure flawsAfter a harvest from hell across the country, farmers now have to deal with a new problem: the CN strike. Over 3,000 Canadian National Railway Co. employees out of about 24,000 in Canada and the United States are off the job. They’re asking for better working conditions and safety improvements. Perhaps it’s not the most…

Behind Maple Leaf Foods’ bold call to become carbon neutral 

The company is showing what environmental stewardship in agri-food should look like in the 21st century

Behind Maple Leaf Foods’ bold call to become carbon neutral Maple Leaf Foods isn’t just pretending to be environmentally friendly; it’s trying to be a trailblazer in the wild kingdom of proteins. The company has just adopted science-based targets that will help it become the first major agri-food company in the world to be carbon neutral. Clearly motivated by the federal carbon tax and our…

We need more women driving agri-food innovation

A new report shows women are much more adept at driving change and managing results in startups, yet they struggle to find funding

We need more women driving agri-food innovationA recent report on agri-tech startup funding provided some compelling numbers but it barely received attention. And when it comes to what it reveals about gender discrepancies, it deserves attention. More and more venture capital is being invested in the sector, which is great news. But these funds apparently aren’t serving all demographics equally. Some…

The red meat merry-go-round

The protein war isn’t about the amount of meat we should eat, but rather about how studies on nutrition should be interpreted. It's messy

The red meat merry-go-roundFor a few years, we’ve been force-fed the notion that red meat and processed meat products threaten our health. But the protein war between the livestock industry and plant-based supporters has taken an interesting twist. In 2015, the World Health Organization went as far as to say that processed meats were carcinogenic, adding them to…

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an end

Prairie towns and villages are becoming relics of the past. Formerly bustling main streets are lined with boarded-up businesses, inhabited by aging retirees who carry the memories of a bygone era

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an endWhat do you think is Canada’s riskiest business? Childhood on our family farm taught me the answer to that question. Despite years of heartbreaking disappointments, my father was a perfect example of the adage “hope springs eternal.” Each spring, he would sing happily on our tractor while seeding wheat, barley and oats. Then we hoped…

Going bananas for a threatened fruit

A deadly fungus is spreading all over the world, so we can expect to pay more for bananas. But our world-class scientists could help solve the problem

Going bananas for a threatened fruitThe world could run out of bananas. Reports this summer suggest that a banana-killing fungus, Fusarium TR4 or the Panama disease, has reached Latin America. And it could spread, affecting crops sold in the United States and Canada. After having been detected in the Middle East, Asia and Australia, many experts were expecting the highly-contagious…
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